Don't give up on Wie

By Jason SobelApril 23, 2012, 5:42 pm

Allow me to begin by posing a hypothetical scenario ...

There's this college kid. Highly touted golfer, has been ever since he was competing in professional events as a young teenager.

As bright as his future appears, it's nearly been eclipsed by the present. That's because while still taking a full course load at a prestigious undergraduate program, he's won two tournament titles at the game's most elite level and ascended to a spot amongst the top 20 golfers in the world.

It's something that none of the legends have accomplished. Jack Nicklaus wasn't winning pro events while attending Ohio State; Tiger Woods wasn't racking 'em up at Stanford.

So, what do you think? Pretty impressed by this hypothetical up-and-comer? Would you be ready to declare him the Next Big Thing in golf?

Well, good. Keep those thoughts in mind, because this scenario isn't hypothetical at all.

It's just that he is a she – and her name is Michelle Wie.

References to Wie are often accompanied by thoughts of negative connotations. She was the It Girl who tried to hang with the big boys – and never made the cut. Her victory-to-national television commercial ratio is below the Mendoza Line. She’s been called a bust before she ever had the chance to prove the theory wrong.

With her latest rash of poor performances, Wie isn’t doing much to win fans and influence people.

She has now missed the cut in three consecutive LPGA starts for just the second time in her career and the first time in a half-decade. That statistic is exacerbated by the fact that in the latest tournament in this streak, Wie not only missed the cut at the Lotte Championship, she missed it by a mile after posting scores of 78-76. It’s exacerbated by the fact that it came on her home course, Ko Olina Golf Club. And that she hit her first two drives of the second round into a parking lot. And that a statue inspired by her stands just outside the clubhouse.

It’s one thing to have a bad week. It’s quite another to have that bad week in front of your own statue.

This all comes on the tail of Wie’s recent graduation from Stanford – and it may serve as symbolism for her passage from childhood to a full-time member of the workforce. Gradually, her phenom status has been usurped by Lexi Thompson and it doesn’t help that undisputed No. 1-ranked player and five-time major champion Yani Tseng is just nine months her senior.

For the first time in years, critical comments in regard to Wie’s game are completely justified. She ranks 141st on the LPGA in driving accuracy – second-to-last of those who have hit enough tee shots. She is 109th in greens in regulation percentage. And her putts per round – forever a bugaboo, even when she’s playing well – is currently at 134th on the list.

Armed with that barrage of knowledge, it’s easy for those still on the bandwagon to jump off, and those already off to throw stones as it methodically sputters along like the Little Engine That Could.

I won’t dispute that Wie’s latest performances are cause for concern; in fact, those heavily invested in her future prospects should be downright petrified at what has been a shocking turn of events, especially since it’s taken place at the very time when her focus and attention to the game should be at an all-time high following the conclusion of her collegiate responsibilities.

And yet, I do subscribe to the longstanding assertion which states: “Form is temporary; talent is forever.” Wie’s game most certainly isn’t in top form right now, but she still wields as much innate talent as nearly any female golfer on the planet.

That is why, when proffered with the query as to what her future holds, it’s important to look less at the past month of poor play and more at her body of work as a whole. She is still the same player who won twice while burdened by academic responsibilities, the same player who claimed seven top 10s at major championships before even entering college.

No, Wie may never live up to the hefty expectations placed upon her long ago, but such foresight is often flawed when trying to predict the futures of young athletes.

Instead, she shouldn’t be measured against those expectations, but against her peers. Wie is enduring some potholes on the road to success, but it’s a road on which she’s been cruising down the fast lane since well before she could legally drive.

She has already accomplished more as a part-time professional than many of her fellow competitors will accomplish in a career. The critics are justified for unabashed denunciations of her play of late, but as so often happens in this game, don’t be surprised if talent prevails over form.

Michelle Wie has proven that while she may be lacking in the latter, her overall abilities trump those short-term foibles – even if it takes a not-so-hypothetical scenario to remind us.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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